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Do serving and ex-serving personnel of the UK armed forces seek help for perceived stress, emotional or mental health problems?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number1556552
JournalEuropean journal of psychotraumatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2019


King's Authors


Background: UK armed forces personnel are at risk of occupational psychological injury; they are often reluctant to seek help for such problems.
Objective: We aimed to examine and describe sources of support, prevalence and associates of help-seeking among UK serving and ex-serving personnel.
Method: A total of 1450 participants who self-reported a stress, emotional or mental health
problem in the past 3 years were sampled from a health and wellbeing study and subsequently completed a telephone interview comprising measures of mental disorder symptoms, alcohol misuse and help-seeking behaviour.
Results: Seven per cent of participants had not sought any help, 55% had accessed medical sources of support (general practitioner or mental health specialist), 46% had received formal non-medical (welfare) support and 86% had used informal support. Gender, age, perceived health, functional impairment, social support, deployment, alcohol and comorbidity impacted upon the choice of help source.
Conclusions: This study found that the majority of those with perceived mental health problems sought some form of help, with over half using formal medical sources of support.

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